We’ve been offline for a few days. On Monday we lounged around London before catching an evening train to the Harwich ferry terminal. There we boarded our Stena Line overnight ferry to The Netherlands. It was a long and tiring trip. We didn’t sleep well on the ferry and had to stand in line for quite a while for immigration on both ends. We were exhausted when we reached our hotel Tuesday morning.
Our hotel in Amsterdam is a block from the city’s biggest park. It has miles of walking trails, lakes, birds, fishermen, and lots of cyclists. We spent Tuesday afternoon exploring the park.
37% of Amsterdam residents ride bikes so they are everywhere on the streets, sidewalks, and in the park. We have yet to see a bike with low slung handlebars. Everyone rides upright. I assume it’s the only way to see cars, mopeds, and pedestrians clogging the streets and paths.
Today we went to the Van Gogh Museum. It is about a mile walk from our hotel. We stood in line for and hour and a half for tickets. Having advance tickets could have cut that in half, but don’t guarantee immediate entry either. The museum is organized for maximum efficiency of moving as many people per day as they can. There are few places to sit and you move along without time to stop and contemplate a painting. I found myself thinking of Temple Grandin and wondering if she might help them make this a more pleasant experience. For those who don’t know her work, click on her name to understand my reference. Anyway, enough complaining, after all there were a hell of a lot of Van Gogh’s to see. Surprisingly there also were a number of wonderful pieces by other artists of the period who were his friends and teachers. Most striking to me were his sketches in pencil, ink, crayon, etc. They really show his creative process. Here are some of them.
Finally, perhaps the most surprising painting in the museum was this one of a skull smoking a cigarette. It looks like something out of a modern anti-smoking campaign. I would love to know what he intended with this image.
Our day ended with an overdose of hot Indonesian food. It was fantastic! Now to bed.